An Oath by Cord

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About two weeks ago I got an email from two pagan friends of mine. They’d been married for five years, {which had been a Goth wedding bash in a torture museum on friday the 13th, ’cause they rock that way}, and now they wanted to do it all over again and renew their vows with a handfasting. A handfasting is, to put it overly simply, a pagan wedding ceremony. The couple’s hands are bound by a special cord and they speak their vows. After that, they jump over a broom, which is believed to bring fertility and good luck to the happy couple. It is a wedding before the Gods and the Elements as well as a declaration of love in front of their family and friends.

They asked me if I would do them the honour of leading the ritual and doing the actual handfasting, on friday the 13th of May. Which was a little over a week away… gulp… I was of course amazingly honoured that they asked me and dove into my treasure trove of books to put together a ritual that was personal, heartfelt and festive. After a few emails back and forth asking tons of questions I had everything I needed to write the ritual. They also asked me to weave the cords, which are the braided cord in the picture above. Black and purple as ‘their’ colours, with red, love, to bind them together.

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The happy couple and me, just before the fasting of hands.

To the day itself: we were lucky enough to have the last day of bright, sunny¬†weather that day, so the back garden where we had our ritual, was beautifully lush green and warm. A group of the happy pagan couples friends and family had gathered, together with three other witches to celebrate their love with them. We hung out and enjoyed to almost-summer-sun while talking and mentally preparing for the ritual to come. Now, I’ve been a High Priestess for a few years now, but this was the first ritual I led with this many non-pagan people. I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous, hoping that I didn’t overwhelm them with too much information, while at the same time explaining why we were doing what we were doing.

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The Vows

I really was a magical night and a lovely group of people to share this moment with. The couple exchanged vows, jumped over the broom and shared their first mead and cake as a married couple. After closing the circle again, we went back to our cosy nooks in the garden and feasted and talked until the sky was dark and littered with stars. Blankets came out for those who were cold and the mead flowed freely. It was warm and it was wonderful and I’m still honoured to have been a part of it. This was my first handfasting of a couple that wasn’t me and my husband and I loved it! It’s an amazing thing to acknowledge a couple’s love in this way, in front of the Gods. So again, thank you Jan and Mira, for this heartwarming honour.

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Thanking the Gods while the couple is munching cake.

Chocolate Bunny Ostara Ritual

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Yesterday was the Spring Equinox, the time where day and night are the same length. Us pagans call this day Ostara, a celebration similar to Easter. For a while now I’ve wanted to get back into celebrating the seasons and the pagan wheel of the year. Since spring is the time of new beginnings, this seemed a perfect place to start!

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I wanted to do something small. I love elaborate rituals in large groups, but when I’m alone, a few words are enough. I decorated my altar with a few Ostara symbols: spring flowers, eggs and most important for my ritual today; rabbits.

The rabbit is a symbol of fertility, of spring and is one of the Trickster animals. To me, the high leaps of the rabbit signify the ‘leap of faith’, of taking a chance and starting something new. This is what I wanted to focus on for this ritual. Spring is my favourite season, a season of new life and happiness, bright colours and a bit of silliness. Inspiration for this Ostara ritual came from two things: S.J. Tucker’s Rabbit Song, a song about how Trickster chose Rabbit as his animal, and a silly Lesser Banishment ritual of the Chocolate Rabbit I found online, which includes lots of sweets and jellybeans.

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For my Chocolate Bunny ritual I got a chocolate bunny {after eight minty chocolate, oh my!} which became the center of my small celebration. I called upon Mother Moon, Father Forest and the Elements for guidance and support and started by lighting the pink candle, which has been a feature in all Ostara rituals so far. I sang the Rabbit Song and blessed my Chocolate Bunny with the fertility, growth and leaps of faith of the real rabbits and took a bite. {Really, any excuse for chocolate is a good one, right?} During the day I will eat my Bunny, letting the blessings of spring flow through me and strengthen me on my path and my new venture.

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There is a new project I’ve been working on {I’ll tell you all about it later, promise!} and, since I’m a total oracle cards hoarder, wanted to lay some cards on the project. I picked one of my favourite decks for this one; the Messenger Oracle by Ravynne Phelan. I drew three cards: inspiration, action and outcome. The first one represents the inspiration, which was the card ‘follow the moon’. It told me to follow the moon’s cycle both in nature and within me. The action card was ‘seek your destiny’, which told me to not be afraid to take that next step and seek my true power and destiny. The last card was the outcome, the ‘need and necessity’ card told me that it can go either way, but if it is something I feel I need to do {and I do}, then the outcome doesn’t matter.

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I thanked the God and Goddess and the Elements and promised them to try and strengthen our connection this year. I’ve been feeling a bit disconnected to my Path and to the Gods, and it’s something that I’ve been missing. So I hope that this year I can reclaim that connection again.

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This little totem bunny was made last year from clay, after a spirit animal meditation. I still adore this little thing and wanted to show her off just a little…

How did you guys celebrate spring/Ostara/Easter? I’d love to hear!